11/06/24

The National Security Act 2023

The National Security Act 2023
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In a previous article we focused upon section 1 & 31 of Part 1 of The National Security Act 2023 (‘the Act’) which is designed to counter the ever-changing security threat to the United Kingdom.

In this article, John Veale outlines section 2 of Part 1 of the Act which deals with the offence of ‘Obtaining or disclosing trade secrets.’

Obtaining or disclosing trade secrets

The Offence

Section 2 of The National Security Act 2023 provides that a person commits an offence if:

  • that person obtains, copies, records, or retains a trade secret, or discloses or provides access to a trade secret,
  • that person’s conduct is unauthorised,
  • that person knows, or having regard to other matters known, ought reasonably to know, that such conduct is unauthorised, and
  • the foreign power condition is met in relation to that conduct.

A Trade Secret

A ‘trade secret’ means any information, document, or other article which:

  • is not generally known by, or available to, persons with knowledge of or expertise in the field to which it relates,
  • has actual or potential industrial, economic or commercial value which would be, or could reasonably be expected to be, adversely affected if it became generally known by or available to such persons and
  • could reasonably be expected to be subject to measures to prevent it becoming generally known by, or available to, such persons.

Unauthorised Conduct

  • is not entitled to determine whether they may engage in the conduct, and
  • does not have consent to engage in the conduct from a person who is so entitled.

The Foreign Power Condition

Section 31 of The National Security Act 2023 states that the foreign power condition is met if:

  • the conduct, or a course of conduct is carried out for or on behalf of a foreign power and
  • the person knows or having regard to other matters known ought reasonably to know, that to be the case.

Section 31 also sets out that the conduct, or course of conduct, is, in particular, to be treated as carried out for or on behalf of a foreign power if it is:

  • instigated by a foreign power,
  • under the direction of a foreign power,
  • carried out with financial or other assistance provided by a foreign power for that purpose or
  • carried out in collaboration with, or with the agreement of, a foreign power.
  • carried out in circumstances where the person intends the conduct to benefit a foreign power. It is not necessary to identify a particular foreign power.

Consequences of Conviction

Offences committed under section 2 of The National Security Act 2023 are criminal offences triable before a Crown Court. Upon conviction, a person is liable to face a fine, imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years, or both.

Who Can I Contact for Advice & Help?

The consequence of conviction for any offence under The National Security Act 2023 can be seen to be extremely onerous. Accordingly, if you are arrested for any such or, indeed, any other criminal offence you should seek immediate professional advice.

At KANGS we possess a wealth of experience gained from defending clients facing criminal Investigation and Prosecution for twenty-five years, which has resulted in the enviable nationwide reputation that we now enjoy.

If you need legal advice or assistance, we are here to help, please do not hesitate to reach out using the details below:

Tel:       0333 370 4333

Email: info@kangssolicitors.co.uk

We provide initial no obligation discussion at our three offices in London, Birmingham, and Manchester. Alternatively, discussions can be held through live conferencing or telephone.

Hamraj Kang

Hamraj Kang
Senior Partner

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John Veale

John Veale
Partner

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Helen Holder

Helen Holder
Partner

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